Teamsters v. Town of Kennebunk and Lt. Michael LeBlanc, No. 80-30, aff'd., 
Teamsters v. Town of Kennebunk and MLRB, CV-80-413.

STATE OF MAINE                                     MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
                                                                Case No. 80-30

State, County, Municipal and  )
University Employees in the   )
State of Maine,               )
                 Complainant, )                      DECISION AND ORDER
  v.                          )
TOWN OF KENNEBUNK and         )
LT. MICHAEL LeBLANC,          )
                 Respondents. )

     Teamsters Local Union No. 48, State, County, Municipal and University
Employees in the State of Maine (Union) filed this complaint on March 3, 1980.
The Respondents Town of Kennebunk and Lieutenant Michael LeBlanc filed a
response on March 24, 1980.  The complaint alleges that the Town would not
have discharged police officer Patrolman Wayne M. Doherty had it not been for
his union activities in organizing the employees and filing a prohibited
practice complaint or for the Union's threat to file a prohibited practice
complaint concerning the alleged harassment of Doherty by Lt. LeBlanc.  The
complaint also alleges that the discharge constituted a unilateral change in
working conditions.  The Respondents contend that Doherty was discharged
during his probationary period after an extensive investigation of an incident
for the reasons that he had made misrepresentations to Lt. LeBlanc during
the investigation, that he violated various department rules, and that his
general performance had been poor.

     Alternate Chairman Donald W. Webber held a pre-hearing conference on
April 15, 1980, after which he issued a Pre-Hearing Conference Memorandum and
Order, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.  A hearing
in the matter was held on May 7, 1980, before the Maine Labor Relations Board
(Board), Chairman Edward H. Keith presiding, with Employee Representative
Wallace J. Legge and Employer Representative Don R. Zieqenbein.  All parties
were afforded full opportunity to participate, to introduce relevant evidence,
to examine and cross-examine witnesses, to argue orally, and to file briefs.
The Union was represented by Business Representative Walter J. Stilphen, Jr.;
Respondents by Labor Consultant Robert D. Curley.  The representatives chose
to waive the filing of briefs and argued orally at the conclusion of the


     The Board has jurisdiction to hear and decide this case in accordance
with the provisions of Section 968(5) of the Municipal Public Employees Labor
Relations Law (Act), 26 M.R.S.A.  968(5).


                                FINDINGS OF FACT

     Upon the entire record, and from our observation of the witnesses and
their demeanor, we find:

     1.  The Town, Town Manager Kenneth W. Barrett, Chief of Police Frank
         E. Stevens, and Lieutenant Michael LeBlanc are public employers,
         or representatives of public employers, within the meaning of 26
         M.R.S.A.  968(5), 962(7), and 964(1);[fn]1 the Union is a public
         employee organization and a bargaining agent within the meaning
         of 26 M.R.S.A.  968(5)(B) and  962(2).

     2.  The Union was certified as the bargaining agent for the Patrolmen
         as the result of a bargaining agent election conducted in October
         1979 as the result of an organizing effort which started in the
         previous summer and which was led by four present Patrolmen for the
         Town, including Doherty.  Doherty solicited for the Union with
         Patrolman Bemis, Corporal Wood, and some of the Dispatchers.  Wood
         and Bemis were opposed to the Union.  At some later point, prior to
         the election, Chief Stevens called Doherty into his office and, with
         Lt. LeBlanc present, proceeded to discuss the Union.  Both Stevens
         and LeBlanc clearly conveyed their opinions to Doherty that they
         would prefer to operate without a union, and that the Chief could
         not see why problems could not be settled without a union.  The
         Chief suggested to Doherty that he should not be a "follower" of
         Patrolman Berdeen (another union adherent).[fn]1A  Doherty felt that
         both Stevens and LeBlanc were hostile to the Union, as did others
         who testified:  Reserve Patrolman Lyna, Patrolman Baker and Reserve
         Patrolman Hanson.  It was evident to all that there were four
         Union supporters: Doherty, Berdeen, Nason, and Baker.
         Doherty was seen as a weak supporter among these four, in
         part because of his youth, and that is why Stevens attempted to
         persuade him to vote against the Union prior to the election.  Lt.
         LeBlanc stated that there was grave concern over the impending vote.

     3.  On October 31, 1979, the Union prevailed at the election and was
         certified.  Within the next two days, each of the four activists
         were disciplined by Lt. LeBlanc.  No others were.  Berdeen, Nason,
         and Baker each received written warnings: Berdeen for refusing to
         work a special assignment on his day off; Nason and Baker for
         improper dress in court.  Doherty received an order restricting him
         from patronizing Jake's Place, one of the two spots in Town
         frequented by officers on the night shift during their break periods.
         According to LeBlanc, Doherty had been too regular in the time of
         night that he chose to visit Jake's.

     4.  On November 19, 1979, the Union served on Town Manager Barrett a
         prohibited practice complaint against the Town and LeBlanc because
         of these four incidents.  A few days later, an area newspaper carried
         an article about the incident, quoting at length from Stevens and
         LeBlanc.  LeBlanc was quoted as saying that if the patrolmen do not
         follow orders, they will "be gone."  Doherty wrote a rebuttal on
         behalf of the four and sent it to the newspaper which published it.
         Chief Stevens was upset about this, and had another discussion with
         Doherty expressing his opinions that the Teamsters were the wrong way
         to go and that Doherty was being a follower.  Both Stevens and LeBlanc
         were upset by the rebuttal and were angry at the four and at the Union.

     5.  Prohibited practice complaint No. 80-16 was eventually settled and a
         motion to withdraw without objection was filed on February 11, 1980,
         and granted on February 13, 1980.  In accordance with Board Rule
         4.09, such a withdrawal is without prejudice.

1  The complaint only named the Town and Lt. LeBlanc.  It was clear from the
allegations, however, that the actions of Chief Stevens were also complained
of since he effectuated the discharge decision and ostensibly was responsible
therefor.  It was discovered at the hearing that Town Manager Barrett had
actually made the discharge decision.  We conclude that Stevens and Barrett
are properly considered to be respondents since they had notice of the
complaint and in any event are subject to the Board's jurisdiction as
representatives and agents of the Town.  See, 26 M.R.S.A.  964(1).

1A  Such conduct by the Chief could constitute a prohibited practice
complaint, but it was not so alleged.


     6.  On January 12, 1980, Doherty met by prearrangement with a local
         high school student.  He had become acquainted with her since she
         worked as a waitress at a Town eating establishment he frequented
         while on duty.  Doherty had told LeBlanc in advance that he was
         going to try to develop a contact at the high school concerning
         possible information about a continuing vandalism problem that
         existed in the Town.  LeBlanc indicated general approval of the
         idea.  LeBlanc knew that this was Doherty's first such activity
         and there was no evidence that Doherty was aware of any of the
         rules regarding Juveniles.  LeBlanc did not tell him about any
         such rules at that time.  Although LeBlanc did not know any details
         regarding the contact, he must have known that the contact would
         be a juvenile (she was 17).

     7.  Doherty met the student that evening during his off-duty hours
         in his personal automobile in a parking lot across from her home.
         After discussing the vandalism situation for a while, Doherty drove
         around the beach area where a large number of students congregated
         in the evenings.  Doherty wanted her to try to discover who among
         the students might be responsible for some of the vandalism.  At
         some point one of the on-duty officers stopped them to say that
         LeBlanc wanted Doherty to return her as soon as possible because
         the father was looking for her, and then to come to the station.
         She immediately called home, Doherty then took her home, and then
         he went to meet LeBlanc.  In an affidavit submitted by the father,
         he stated that his daughter said she had tried earlier to call to
         tell him where she was and what she was doing but that the line had
         been busy.

     8.  While the two had been out in the car, the father had called the
         station and stated that he understood that his daughter was out
         with Doherty and that he wanted her returned immediately.  He com-
         plained about her being driven around by a police officer without
         his consent on the premise of gaining information.  LeBlanc told
         the father that Doherty was trustworthy and conscientious (and he
         confirmed at the hearing that he felt that way at that time).  He
         said he would contact the father after investigating the matter,
         in about a week.

     9.  When Doherty returned he had a discussion with LeBlanc.  According
         to Doherty, LeBlanc assailed him for what he had done, accused him
         of having no professional motives, and said that he would be docu-
         menting this and that it would not matter whether Doherty complained
         to the Union or anywhere else.  Doherty said he was shocked at
         LeBlanc's response to the situation.  According to LeBlanc, when
         Doherty came in he asked him what his thoughts were, and then pro-
         ceeded to tell him about various police policies about needing
         parental permission for juvenile informants, about not being seen
         in public with an informant, and about not having women in cars
         without supervisor approval.  He did not mention any problem with
         the credibility in court of juveniles and he did not mention the
         Union.  Doherty testified that he said at the time that he did not
         have any interest in dating the daughter but that they were just
         friends and that he had met her solely for information purposes.
         LeBlanc testified that Doherty said something about his honest
         motives; he also wrote in an investigation memo that Doherty said
         at the time that his only intention was to gain information and
         that he had no personal objectives.  At the end of the discussion
         Doherty apologized for being inconsistent with these policies, for
         causing a problem by not talking to the parent first, and for
         putting LeBlanc in an embarrassing situation.  LeBlanc notified
         Chief Stevens of the incident immediately, who then notified Town
         Manager Barrett who told the Chief to investigate the matter

    10.  On January 13th, the father came to the police station to meet with
         Doherty.  They discussed the previous day's incident, juvenile prob-
         lems in the Town and possible solutions for three to four hours.  At
         the end of the conversation, Doherty asked the father if he minded
         Doherty dating his daughter in the future.  The father stated that
         he did not, stated that he trusted his daughter's judgment and that
         she was mature for 17 years of age.


    11.  Doherty had made comments about the daughter separately to
         Patrolman Bemis and Corporal Wood prior to this incident.
         The comments indicated that he had a romantic interest in the
         daughter.  These two told their versions of these conversations to
         LeBlanc a few days after the incident, around January 15. 1980.

    12.  On January 17, LeBlanc again spoke to Doherty about the incident
         and asked him if he had anything further to add about the incident.
         Doherty said he did not; and LeBlanc ended the conversation.  That
         night, Doherty went out on a date with the daughter.  He did not
         date her thereafter.

    13.  On January 18th LeBlanc called the father as he had said he would.
         The father advised LeBlanc that he did not intend to file a written
         complaint about the incident or press the matter and also told him
         that he did not object to Doherty seeinq his daughter.

    14.  On January 20th, LeBlanc again spoke to Doherty about the incident.
         This time, he mentioned that Wood and Bemis had told him about com-
         ments Doherty had made to them about the daughter; he did not say
         exactly what the comments were.  Doherty did not deny that he had
         made comments about her, but did ask LeBlanc that they not be re-
         peated to the father.  LeBlanc did not so repeat them.  Doherty
         stated again that they were just friends and that he would not be
         seeing her again.  He apologized again for the incident.  At the
         hearing, there were written statements from Wood and Bemis dated
         February 14, 1980, which quoted the comments Doherty had made to
         them in December or early January.  At the hearing Doherty testi-
         fied that he did not use the rather graphic language claimed but
         did not deny that he had expressed a personal interest in the
         daughter in other language.  Doherty also pointed out that Bemis
         was well-known as the prude of the department and that he was
         frequently ribbed because of his predictable reaction to any off-
         color comments.  Doherty characterized Wood as the opposite type
         of person who had an extremely graphic vocabulary when it came to
         rough, informal conversation, suggesting that the quote was more
         Wood's creation than fact.

    15.  After January 20th, there were no further developments regarding the
         incident:  no new events or disclosures.  On January 23rd, LeBlanc
         verbally reprimanded Doherty for staying too long during his breaks
         that day at the lunch spot where the daughter worked.  Doherty main-
         tained that he had not overstayed and that the daughter was not on
         duty that day.

    16.  The next incident of note took place on February 2 and 3, 1980, when
         Doherty called in sick.  Doherty had moved his residence shortly
         before and had properly notified the dispatchers of his new address
         and telephone number.  LeBlanc, however, was unaware of the change
         and when Doherty did not answer the phone at his old address for two
         days in a row, LeBlanc made a comment which is disputed.  Two reserve
         officers who were present testified in detail that LeBlanc got upset
         and said that he was going "to get" him yet, referring to Doherty
         with a vulgar word.  LeBlanc did not deny the substance of the com-
         ment, but explained that if he did say anything similar he only meant
         that he was doing to get in touch with him.  When Doherty heard about
         this comment he became very concerned and spoke to Union Steward
         Baker about the situation.  They decided that they should raise a
         complaint about what they felt had been harrassment of Doherty by
         LeBlanc.  They spoke to Business Representative Stilphen about this,
         who raised the issue at the first contract negotiation meeting with
         the Town.

    17.  The first negotiation session for the initial collective bargaining
         agreement took place on the evening of February 12th.  During the
         session Stilphen told the Town that if they did not stop harrassing
         Doherty that the Union would file another prohibited practice
         complaint (p.p.c.).  After Town Manager Barrett learned of this
         p.p.c. threat, (it was unclear whether he was physically present or
         not), he directed Stevens to put the investigation together
         immediately and submit it to him.  He indicated that he would decide
         what to do.  This was done and on February 14th Wood, Bemis, and
         LeBlanc wrote out statements and LeBlanc submitted his


         investigative report covering the period of January 12 to January
         20, 1980.

    18.  LeBlanc made no recommendation regarding the incident and did not
         participate in the decision.  Barrett and Stevens discussed the
         situation.  Stevens testified that they discussed two or three
         different things but he did not give any details of the conversa-
         tion.  Stevens did not recommend dismissal; he did not recom-
         mend anything, although he testified that he felt that Doherty had
         committed a dismissable offense.  Barrett decided to discharge
         Doherty, which Stevens carried out orally on February 15, 1980.
         Labor Consultant Curley wrote a letter dated February 19, 1980,
         which Stevens then signed, stating the reasons for the dismissal.

    19.  It was unknown to the Union prior to the hearing that Town Manager
         Barrett had made the decision to discharge Barrett.  Although he
         had been listed as a witness by the Town, he did not appear at the
         hearing.  The Union complained in its closing argument that it had
         not been able to question the person who had made the discharge
         decision; but it did not request an opportunity to continue the
         hearing until he could be subpoenaed.

    20.  The Union pointed to other incidents in support of a claim of dis-
         parate treatment.  On two prior occasions, a police officer who
         simultaneously collected both a two-thirds salary as Worker's Com-
         pensation from the Town and a full salary as a police officer was
         caught.  After it happened the second time, the officer was simply
         demoted, although the Chief recommended dismissal to the Town
         Manager for, in effect, larceny.  Another incident took place when
         Wood allegedly reported to work intoxicated and went out in a
         cruiser.  He was observed in this condition by four officers and was
         suspended for 3 days by Chief Stevens.  He returned from the sus-
         pension 2 days prior to the hearing in this case and the Chief re-
         ported that the final disposition of the matter was still under in-

    21.  Doherty was notified of his dismissal on or about February 15, 1980,
         by Chief Stevens.  This was followed up by a letter dated February
         19, 1980, setting forth the cause for dismissal.  The letter set the
         "immediate cause" of dismissal as the willful misrepresentation of
         his intent to Lt. LeBlanc on January 12, 1980, regarding the meeting
         with the daughter on that day.  The letter also included, as second-
         ary reasons, the violation of a number of department rules and his
         "general performance" in his probationary period.

    22.  The misrepresentation of intent issue is covered by the previous
         paragraphs.  There are additional facts of note regarding the
         department rules about the use of informants, two of which were
         cited in the dismissal letter as having been violated by Doherty,
         along with two bad judgment factors.  The letter mentioned (1)
         failing to ask the parents' permission to use a juvenile as an
         informant; (2) failing to seek advance permission of an authorized
         police superior to use an informant; (3) inconsistency of action
         because juveniles lack credibility as informants in an evidentiary
         sense; and (4) inconsistency and bad judgment in driving the
         informant around in his car, a form of advertising.  These department
         "rules" are unwritten and vague.  In addition, Doherty had no prior
         knowledge that the cited rules existed.  Doherty also maintained
         that he never intended to use the daughter as an "informant," that
         is, one who might give testimony to the commission of a crime,
         rather, he only wanted to gather information in aide of his own
         investigation.  The Town did not respond to this distinction.

    23.  Doherty conceded that the best practical course would have been to
         have sought the parents' permission regarding the incident.  None-
         theless, LeBlanc knew in advance that Doherty was going to be
         developing an information contact at the high school and, therefore,
         must have known the person would be a juvenile.  Since LeBlanc also
         knew that this was Doherty's first such type of activity (Doherty
         was first hired on March 6, 1979), and did not point out any of the
         unwritten rules regarding informants, it is not logical to charge
         him with breaking this "rule."  With respect to the charge of
         advertising a contact that should be kept confidential by driving
         around the beach, it must be noted that


         the driving around took place at niqht when it was dark.

    24.  Another factor listed in the letter was general poor performance
         during Doherty's probation period.  At the hearing, Chief Stevens
         claimed that there was a one-year probation period (Doherty was
         3 weeks short of one year at the time of his discharge).  While
         Stevens conceded that the probationary period was not in the rules
         and regulations, he stated that a Selectmen's meeting minutes
         "probably" contained the one-year probationary period.  The Chief
         explained that the one-year coincided with Title 25  2805 which
         provides, in part:

              "As a condition to the continued employment of any
               person as a full-time law enforcement officer by a
               municipality or county, said person shall success-
               fully complete, within the first year of his employ-
               ment, a basic training course at the Maine Criminal
               Justice Academy."

         Stevens pointed out that the Town wanted to see the officers com-
         plete the Academy (a 12-week course) but if they flunked out, the
         Town did not want to continue to employ them.  The one-year period
         claim is highly suspect because of the contrary evidence.  Doherty
         testified that Stevens told him that the probationary period was
         only six months.  Patrolman Mason, who was hired in September 1978,
         also testified that Stevens told him that it was six months.  Mason
         claimed that all the other officers had been told the same thing.
         Patrolman Baker, who was hired after Doherty in June 1979, also
         testified that either Stevens or LeBlanc had told him that it was a
         six-month period.  Baker also claimed that all the other officers
         believed that it was a six-month period.

    25.  It is apparently common practice for the Academy to run well-behind
         in openings in its basic training course.  Stevens explained that
         Doherty's name had been submitted to the Academy for quite some time
         and yet there was no word back when he would be attending.  It is
         therefore plain that the one-year probationary period would in fact
         be completed before a Patrolman even began attending the lengthy
         course.  However, by operation of the very law cited, the Town could
         not retain any officer who failed the Academy course whether he was
         through the Town's probationary period or not.  Therefore, pointing
         to the statute is not particularly supportive of the Chief's claim
         that the Town in fact had a one-year probation period.

    26.  As far as Doherty's general performance is concerned, the Chief
         deferred during cross-examination to LeBlanc to explain what it was.
         Doherty testified to two previous instances of discipline.  One was
         the Jake's Place restriction which the Union claims was unlawful
         retaliation against the four Union organizers.  The second instance
         was a reprimand from a corporal for leaving his area during his
         break.  Doherty testified that he had gotten the approval to leave
         the area from Senior Patrolman Berdeen who was on duty at the time,
         and that he pointed that out to the corporal to no avail.  The Town
         did not address this issue.  Lt. LeBlanc testified to the Jake's
         Place restriction and to his questioning the length of Doherty's
         breaks on January 23, 1980.  He testified that on January 12, 1980,
         he believed that Doherty was a conscientious and trustworthy police

    27.  Aside from Chief Stevens, who has been in the Kennebunk police
         department for 32 years, the other police officers are very young.
         Only one of the 9 or 10 other officers has been with the department
         for more than 3 years.  The Lieutenant has been with the department
         for 3 years and in his present position for half that time.  He is
         the youngest police Lieutenant that he knows of.



     The Union alleges that the Town has violated the Act in three ways:
first, it complains that Lt. LeBlanc intimidated and coerced Doherty in the
four meetings they had on January 12, 17, 20, and 23, 1980; second, it points
to LeBlanc's comment on February 3, 1980 about "getting" Doherty; and,
finally,it argues that the discharge of Doherty was triggered by the Union's
threat to file a p.p.c. against the Town for harrassing Doherty.  The Union
asks us to infer that the discharge was an attempt to penalize Doherty or the
Union for threatening to file this p.p.c. in violation of Section 964(1)(A),
(B) and (D).  It points to the timing of the discharge, to the fact that
Doherty was not permitted to explain his version of the events to the
decision-makers, to the lack of seriousness of the incident in comparison to
other recent incidents which resulted in much less discipline; to the
unreasonableness of the summary discharge and the injustice of the alleged
rule violations which were unwritten and had never been explained to him; to
the falsity of the claimed one-year probation period; and to the clear anti-
union atmosphere that existed and the pressure that had been placed on
Doherty and the three other Union organizers.  It also urges a unilateral
change in conditions of disciplinary procedure.

     The Town argues that the misrepresentation by Doherty of his personal
motives is an extremely serious offense for a police officer, that Town
Manager Barrett and not Lt. LeBlanc made the decision to fire Doherty, that
the Chief had recommended discharge for the officer who had collected double
pay, that the final discipline for Corporal Wood had not yet been determined,
and that the line of least resistance in the face of the Union's threat to
file a p.p.c. would have been to not fire Doherty.

     The primary issue in this case is whether the discharge of Doherty was a
violation of Section 964(1)(A) or (B) of the Act.  The standard we apply here
is well established, that is, whether the discharge was in any part motivated
by anti-union animus.  See, e.g., Campbell v. Town of Freeport, 93 LRRM 2521,
2 CCH P.B.C. Par. 20,171 (Kennebec Super. Ct. Sept. 2, 1976); Baker Bus
Service v. Keith, MLRB No. 79-70 (March 3, 1980), appeal docketed, Kennebec
Super. Ct., CV80-702 (March 18, 1980).  This interpretation comports with the
holdings of ten of the eleven federal circuit courts of appeals which have
construed the nearly identical language of the National Labor Relations Act.
See, e.g., Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union v. N.L.R.B.,
547 F.2d 575, 590 (D.C. Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 431 U.S. 966, 97 S. Ct.
2923 (1977); N.L.R.B. v. Central Press of California, 527 F.2d 1156, 1158
(9th Cir. 1975); N.L.R.B. v. Midtown Service Co., 425 F.2d 457, 464 (2d Cir.

     There are some factors here from which we could infer such an improper
motive.  We do not do so in this case, however, because the discharge was
solely based on proper considerations.  The fact that Town Manager Barrett
took such action, on the basis of the evidence he apparently had before him,
appears to us to have been well within the range of reasonableness and raises
no question about his motive.[fn]2

2  Our decision, of course, does not turn on the issue of whether or not the
discharge was "just" in an objective sense.


     Although there is substantial evidence of an anti-union atmosphere
existing in the police department of Kennebunk, we conclude that such
considerations did not infect the discharge of Doherty by the Town Manager.

     We conclude that Doherty unquestionably had ulterior motives in his
approach to the student.  More importantly, he misrepresented his motives to
Lt. LeBlanc during the investigation of the incident.[fn]3  The fact that a
police officer would not only misuse his office to further his personal
romantic interests but would also try to cover it up is an extremely serious
transgression.  This conduct is far more serious than that of the senior
officer who collected double pay from the Town and which resulted in a
demotion.  Rather, Doherty's conduct, as perceived by the Town Manager,
called for discharge.

     We are asked to infer an unlawful motive on the part of the Town Manager
in the discharge.  However, there is little evidence in this record from
which to infer his specific intent.  There is no evidence that the Town
Manager was communicated to about the progress of the investigation of the
citizen complaint after the Chief initially notified him of it.  The Chief
may have been reluctant to act on the matter because of his past involvement
in pressuring Doherty to vote against the union.  However, there is
insufficient evidence to conclude that the Town Manager ever intended to let
this matter be swept under the rug.

     If we had concluded that the Town Manager changed his thinkinq about the
Doherty incident because the Union threatened a p.p.c., we would reach a
different conclusion.  We have decided to the contrary and therefore dismiss
the charge under Sections 964(1)(A) and (B).

     The charge under Section 964(1)(D) must also be dismissed because of our
conclusion that the discharge was solely based on proper disciplinary

     The charge under Section 964(1)(E) must be dismissed because the only
existing conditions established by the Union pertained only to the handling
of formal citizen complaints.  This discharge was not, however, effectuated
because of a citizen complaint under the existing procedure.  Rather, the
discharge was triggered by Doherty's misrepresentations to LeBlanc about the

     LeBlanc did not violate Section 964(1)(A) in the four meetings with
Doherty in January.  We do not find that any of LeBlanc's conduct in these
meetings was related to Doherty's union activity.  The only possible
connection would be Doherty's claim that LeBlanc made some comments about the
Union.  LeBlanc denied making such comments and we believe him.

     We reach the same result regarding LeBlanc's comment on February 3, 1980,
regarding Doherty's being out sick.  LeBlanc's conduct was based on an honest
misunderstanding of the facts and LeBlanc's loss of respect for Doherty as a
result of the recent incidents.  Even if this could be considered harrassment,
LeBlanc's conduct was nonetheless unrelated to Doherty's union activities.
It therefore would not constitute coercion in the exercise of guaranteed
rights.  See, 26 M.R.S.A.  964(1)(A).

3  Although we do not necessarily credit all of LeBlanc's testimony, we find
him more believable than Doherty on points where the two conflict.


     In contrast, the discipline of the four key Union adherents by LeBlanc
immediately after the Union's election is highly suspect.  That matter has not
been raised again in this p.p.c.  In addition, certain of the preelection
conduct by Chief Stevens is also questionable.  We do not reach this issue,
however, since it was not alleged or argued.

     In conclusion, we dismiss the entire complaint.

Dated at Augusta, Maine, this 3rd day of July, 1980.

                                       MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD

                                       /s/___________________________________                                                       Y,
                                       Edward H. Keith

                                       Wallace J. Legge
                                       Employee Representative

                                       Don R. Ziegenbein
                                       Employer Representative